Monday, August 31, 2015

BuzzFeed May Build the First Major Tech Campus in Downtown Los Angeles!







BuzzFeed Is Laying Groundwork For Major Expansion in Los Angeles


The Wall Street Journal
Reuters
BuzzFeed is eyeing a big expansion in Los Angeles.
The rising digital media star is in discussions to lease a century-old former Ford auto factory on the southeastern edge of Los Angeles’ downtown, according to people familiar with the talks.
The 250,000-square-foot potential lease suggests large West Coast ambitions for the company, which is hot off a $200 million investment from NBCUniversal that valued it at around $1.5 billion. BuzzFeed is considering multiple options in addition to the former Ford factory, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
Under the deal being discussed, BuzzFeed would lease the entire five-story building, which is being redeveloped as an office building by Shorenstein Properties. The building, which once was used for assembling Model Ts and later was used as a toy factory, is roughly as large as BuzzFeed’s Manhattan headquarters. That amount of space typically holds 1,500 to 2,500 employees when laid out as standard office space.
A fast-growing digital media upstart, BuzzFeed has made solid inroads with the 18- to 34-year-old demographic that advertisers frequently target. Through its combination of news, lists, quizzes and advertiser-sponsored content, BuzzFeed drew in 82.4 million unique visitors in July, according to comScore Inc. The company employs more than 1,000 people worldwide and said it took in over $100 million in revenue in 2014.
A large chunk of the company’s current Los Angeles operation is made up of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, a division it has invested heavily in during the past year. It currently employs about 230 people at its Hollywood studio space to create an average of 70-75 short video clips per week.
When the NBCUniversal investment was announced earlier this month, the companies said they would explore a variety of strategic partnerships including collaborating on television content, movies, the Olympics, and joint partnerships with brands and ad agencies.
Should the real-estate deal be completed, it would make BuzzFeed among the largest tech startups in Los Angeles by office-space footprint. At 250,000 square feet, the company would have more space in the city than Amazon or Snapchat, and a similar level to Google, according to real estate services firm JLL.
The company isn’t the only one expanding in Los Angeles right now. Earlier this month, Netflix announced a 200,000-square-foot lease at a new building in Hollywood

Walking Tours of Historic Downtown Los Angeles Resume Every Saturday and Sunday Morning - Starting at The Last Bookstore at 5th & Spring in DTLA

After a long hiatus due to doing way too many things 7 days a week, I am now getting up at 4 AM every morning so I can do even more things 7 days a week.  

I have now also resumed my Saturday and Sunday -  morning tours of Historic Downtown LA from 10:30 to 12:30 ($15 per person) all this September (including this week on Sep 4th & 5th), October (except for Sat. Oct. 15th), November & December along with special afternoon weekend tours and weekday tours by appointment.  And each of these tours can be customized - within reason, of course - to meet the interests of those who reserve ahead of time.

The Last Bookstore (and its  2nd floor with 50,000 books at ONE DOLLAR each!)  Presents  2 hour walking tours  of the The Secret Lives of Historic Downtown Los Angeles -  FEATURED In GQ MAGAZINE and Endorsed By - LOS ANGELES MAGAZINE and AMERICAN COWBMAGAZINE,
 
Among the many things you will learn this weekend is that if a friend of Wyatt Earp's had not built the Alexandria Hotel - it would have been impossible for George Gershwin to have written his iconic Rhapsody in Blue.

And all tours start at THE LAST BOOKSTORE in the Spring Arts Tower at 5th and Spring - enter on the 5th street side - and they are still only $15 per person.

And  besides our regular scheduled tours, we will be offering customized tours on different days and different times and from one to three hours including weekdays - depending on your schedule.  With a minimum of four reservations, we will design a tour of any part of Downtown focusing on any subject matter you choose.  These tours can be after work, during lunch breaks - or??

FOR MORE INFORMATION  - contact Brady Westwater at 213-804-8396 - or bradywestwater@gmail.com
BRADBURY BUILDING
All tours begin at THE LAST BOOKSTORE at 453 S. Spring Street in the Spring Arts Tower and will be led by long time Downtown resident Brady Westwater who, besides being involved with the Downtown LA Neighborhood Council, the Historic Downtown BID, Gallery Row, Art Walk, and the BOXeight and the CONCEPT Fashion Weeks, has brought over 150 businesses, artists and non-profit institutions to Downtown.  All tours are only $15 per person.  
Wyatt Earp

If you are a participant in 'Historic Downtown Los Angeles 101' Tour, you will see the first motion picture theater built,  the place where Babe Ruth signed his contract with the Yankees, the hotel where Charlie Chaplin lived when he made his early films (and the place where he made his Los Angeles vaudeville debut in 1910) - plus the homes and haunts of everyone from actor Nicholas Cage, the Black Dahlia, Rudolph Valentino, LA’s version of Jack the Ripper, President Teddy Roosevelt, the Night Stalker, western outlaw Emmet Dalton,  actor Ryan Gosling and more.  And you will also visit where O. J. Simpson bought his knife.

You’ll explore an intersection where all four buildings were often visited by gunfighter/sheriff Wyatt Earp since they were all built or occupied by friends of his from Tombstone during the shoot-out at the OK Corral.  At this intersection you will also discover what John Wayne, a prime minister of Italy, Houdini, Winston Churchill, boxer Jack Dempsey, Greta Garbo, President Woodrow Wilson and multiple Mexican boxing champions all had in common here.

You will also see where the first new lofts were opened, the places where Gallery Row and the Art Walk began and where Fashion Week returned to Downtown.  You will see many of the new boutiques, designer showrooms and stores that have recently opened in the area along with getting a sneak preview of what will soon be happening in the area.

Tickets for either tour are only $15 per person - free for children under 8 - and reservations can be made by calling Brady Westwater at 213-804-8396 or emailing bradywestwater@gmail.com.  All credit card orders will be processed  at Last Bookstore and cash payments may be made at the start of the tour.   All proceeds will go towards the revitalization and the study of the history of the neighborhood.  
Lastly, future tours will feature specialized areas of interest such as architecture, art of all kinds, shopping and food, single streets, sports (from steer wrestling to luchador wrestlers to a Sumo wrestler), transportation, specific periods of history, the hidden Wild West history of Los Angeles, movie locations, Downtown after hours and many other aspects of the neighborhood. And custom designed can be developed by request  for groups of four or more.
We will also be soon starting weekday and evening tours on what it's like to live in Downtown Los Angeles. You will be introduced to the many of stores, restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues (and often their owners, too) - along with being given previews of one of a kind special events - so you can get a feel for what it is like to live in Downtown Los Angeles.

We expect this tour to be popular with not only people considering moving to Downtown and people who work in Downtown and who would like to know what to do after hours in Downtown - but also to recent and even long established Downtown residents who want to know more about their neighborhood.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Anyone who lived in late 1960's to 1970's LA or wishes they had been there when music changed changed this city forever - needs to read this. Now.

 Here is the opening of Lisa Robinson's article on Los Angeles, Laurel Canyon, and the music of the late 1960's and the early 1970's - and it is a great story superbly told.  Here is the opening - and then read the rest here.

 An Oral History of Laurel Canyon, the 60s and 70s Music Mecca

Joni Mitchell at home on Lookout Mountain Avenue, in Laurel Canyon, September 1970.
© Henry Dilitz/MorrisonHotelGallery.com.
 They made music together, took drugs together, formed bands together, slept together. But none of the legends of the Laurel Canyon scene that flowered in L.A. in the late 60s and early 70s—Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, Linda Ronstadt, and others—remember it quite the same way.
 When I first came out to L.A. [in 1968], my friend [photographer] Joel Bernstein found an old book in a flea market that said: Ask anyone in America where the craziest people live and they'll tell you California. Ask anyone in California where the craziest people live and they'll say Los Angeles. Ask anyone in Los Angeles where the craziest people live and they'll tell you Hollywood. Ask anyone in Hollywood where the craziest people live and they'll say Laurel Canyon. And ask anyone in Laurel Canyon where the craziest people live and they'll say Lookout Mountain. So I bought a house on Lookout Mountain. —Joni Mitchell
Some say the Laurel Canyon music scene began when Frank Zappa moved to the corner of Lookout Mountain and Laurel Canyon Boulevard in the late 1960s. Former Byrds bassist Chris Hillman recalls writing “So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star” in Laurel Canyon in 1966 in his house, on a steep winding street with a name he doesn't remember. The Doors' lead singer Jim Morrison reportedly wrote “Love Street” while living behind the Laurel Canyon Country Store. Michelle Phillips lived with John Phillips on Lookout Mountain in 1965 during the Mamas and the Papas' heyday. Books and documentaries have mythologized and romanticized this woodsy canyon nestled behind Sunset Boulevard in the Hollywood Hills. Still, misconceptions continue.
And here is the rest of the story.


 


 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Walking Tours of Historic Downtown Los Angeles Resume Every Saturday and Sunday Morning - Starting at The Last Bookstore at 5th & Spring in DTLA

After a long hiatus due to doing way too many things 7 days a week, I am now getting up at 4 AM every morning so I can do even more things 7 days a week.  

I have now also resumed my Saturday and Sunday -  morning tours of Historic Downtown LA from 10:30 to 12:30 ($15 per person) all this September (including this week on Sep 4th & 5th), October (except for Sat. Oct. 15th), November & December along with special afternoon weekend tours and weekday tours by appointment.  And each of these tours can be customized - within reason, of course - to meet the interests of those who reserve ahead of time.

The Last Bookstore (and its  2nd floor with 50,000 books at ONE DOLLAR each!)  Presents  2 hour walking tours  of the The Secret Lives of Historic Downtown Los Angeles -  FEATURED In GQ MAGAZINE and Endorsed By - LOS ANGELES MAGAZINE and AMERICAN COWBMAGAZINE,
 
Among the many things you will learn this weekend is that if a friend of Wyatt Earp's had not built the Alexandria Hotel - it would have been impossible for George Gershwin to have written his iconic Rhapsody in Blue.

And all tours start at THE LAST BOOKSTORE in the Spring Arts Tower at 5th and Spring - enter on the 5th street side - and they are still only $15 per person.

And  besides our regular scheduled tours, we will be offering customized tours on different days and different times and from one to three hours including weekdays - depending on your schedule.  With a minimum of four reservations, we will design a tour of any part of Downtown focusing on any subject matter you choose.  These tours can be after work, during lunch breaks - or??

FOR MORE INFORMATION  - contact Brady Westwater at 213-804-8396 - or bradywestwater@gmail.com
BRADBURY BUILDING
All tours begin at THE LAST BOOKSTORE at 453 S. Spring Street in the Spring Arts Tower and will be led by long time Downtown resident Brady Westwater who, besides being involved with the Downtown LA Neighborhood Council, the Historic Downtown BID, Gallery Row, Art Walk, and the BOXeight and the CONCEPT Fashion Weeks, has brought over 150 businesses, artists and non-profit institutions to Downtown.  All tours are only $15 per person.  
Wyatt Earp

If you are a participant in 'Historic Downtown Los Angeles 101' Tour, you will see the first motion picture theater built,  the place where Babe Ruth signed his contract with the Yankees, the hotel where Charlie Chaplin lived when he made his early films (and the place where he made his Los Angeles vaudeville debut in 1910) - plus the homes and haunts of everyone from actor Nicholas Cage, the Black Dahlia, Rudolph Valentino, LA’s version of Jack the Ripper, President Teddy Roosevelt, the Night Stalker, western outlaw Emmet Dalton,  actor Ryan Gosling and more.  And you will also visit where O. J. Simpson bought his knife.

You’ll explore an intersection where all four buildings were often visited by gunfighter/sheriff Wyatt Earp since they were all built or occupied by friends of his from Tombstone during the shoot-out at the OK Corral.  At this intersection you will also discover what John Wayne, a prime minister of Italy, Houdini, Winston Churchill, boxer Jack Dempsey, Greta Garbo, President Woodrow Wilson and multiple Mexican boxing champions all had in common here.

You will also see where the first new lofts were opened, the places where Gallery Row and the Art Walk began and where Fashion Week returned to Downtown.  You will see many of the new boutiques, designer showrooms and stores that have recently opened in the area along with getting a sneak preview of what will soon be happening in the area.

Tickets for either tour are only $15 per person - free for children under 8 - and reservations can be made by calling Brady Westwater at 213-804-8396 or emailing bradywestwater@gmail.com.  All credit card orders will be processed  at Last Bookstore and cash payments may be made at the start of the tour.   All proceeds will go towards the revitalization and the study of the history of the neighborhood.  
Lastly, future tours will feature specialized areas of interest such as architecture, art of all kinds, shopping and food, single streets, sports (from steer wrestling to luchador wrestlers to a Sumo wrestler), transportation, specific periods of history, the hidden Wild West history of Los Angeles, movie locations, Downtown after hours and many other aspects of the neighborhood. And custom designed can be developed by request  for groups of four or more.
We will also be soon starting weekday and evening tours on what it's like to live in Downtown Los Angeles. You will be introduced to the many of stores, restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues (and often their owners, too) - along with being given previews of one of a kind special events - so you can get a feel for what it is like to live in Downtown Los Angeles.

We expect this tour to be popular with not only people considering moving to Downtown and people who work in Downtown and who would like to know what to do after hours in Downtown - but also to recent and even long established Downtown residents who want to know more about their neighborhood.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

My 92 Year Old Father Was Enjoying Lunch with His Wife ... Then Seconds Later... He Was Gone























My father on the right is in his 80's, then my kid sister, and I think I am about to hit 60 and I am holding a member of the 4th generation - my brother's grandson and my father's great grandson.

A year and a half-ago, my then just turned 91 year old father first easily passed his test to renew his driver's license and then received a perfect score on renewing his law license - a profession he had... finally...fully retired from.  And  he passed his examination the first time he had taken after having his education interrupted by five years in the army.   He was then asked the three trick verbal questions they sometimes  ask those who received a perfect score, and he got all three of them right.

And while his health did have a few bumps during the recent years, until a few months ago, he had always fully came back.  And when we were all walking together, even after he was 90, I was the only one in the next generation who keep up with him. But during the past few months, it was finally becoming apparent he was probably going to fully come back this time.

But I can not think of a better way for him - or anyone - to go than to be with the woman he deeply loved - and who deeply loved him - enjoying a warm summer day while they were having lunch together.  And  to then just... suddenly be free of  his earthly burdens - with no  knowledge of what was happening - and their then being able to fully enjoy their life together right up until those last seconds.they had with each other.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Three Young American Men Who Will Have a Very Hard Time Paying for a Meal in a Restaurant



Three Young American Men Who Will Have a Very Hard Time Paying for a Meal in a Restaurant

Three Young American Men Who Will Have a Very Hard Time Paying for a Meal in a Restaurant

Three Young American Men Who Will Have a Very Hard Time Paying for a Meal in a Restaurant


How Bad French Wireless Helped Three Americans Save Lives on French Train



If it wasn't for failed French technology - wireless service that didn't work on parts of the train - the three Americans who saved the day, would have been too far way to stop the massacre. Here is the opening of the Washington Post story -

A change of seats for 3 Americans led to saved lives on Paris-bound train

The three American friends who helped foil what could have been a mass shooting on a packed high-speed train bound for Paris started their journey in a different car, they said Sunday, underlining how easily their triumph could have been a tragedy.
When they got on the train Friday in Amsterdam, they could not find their first-class seats, so they sat elsewhere, said Anthony Sadler, one of the three vacationing childhood friends.
 They have been lauded as heroes by President Obama. French President Fran├žois Hollande on Monday will award them the Legion of Honor, France’s highest decoration. But on Sunday, amid gilding and tapestries in the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Paris, they stayed humble. Only chance led them to change their seats, one said — not heroism.
“We decided to get up because the WiFi wasn’t so good on that car,” said Sadler, 23, a college student. “We were like, ‘We have a ticket to first class. We might as well go sit in first class.’ ”
And that's when the rest of the story starts -

Saturday, August 22, 2015

3 Young Men Who Will be Unable to Pay a Restaurant Bill For a Very Long Time




3 Young American  Men Who Will be Unable to Pay a Restaurant Bill in This Country For a Very Long Time.

Best Description of What the Americans Did When a Terrorist Attacked a Train in France




After a couple rough weeks -just getting caught up on a lot of stories - and I figure with this being the end of summer - a lot of you might have gotten a little behind.  So here is the most detailed account I could find on the French train attack foiled by three Americans who were then joined by a Brit.

'Get him': How four men foiled a bloody French train attack

UPDATED 9:07 a.m. ET

First they heard the click of a gun being loaded inside a closed bathroom, then the passengers, who a few moments later would become heroes, saw a man wielding a machine gun as their high-speed train chugged through France.

Spencer Stone, a member of the U.S. Air Force, and his friend Alek Skarlatos, of the U.S. National Guard, immediately looked at each other.

"Get him," Skarlatos, 22, said. And like that, Stone jumped out of his seat, ran about 32 feet, and tackled the gunman, who was also carrying a knife.

Skarlatos and another friend, Anthony Sadler, a college student from California, quickly followed, dog piling on the attacker, who police would later identify as a 26-year-old of Moroccan descent. British consultant Chris Norman, who initially dug down in his seat when he saw the weapon, joined in to get the gunman under control. Skarlatos, who is from Oregon, grabbed the gun and hit the attacker in the head, his brother, Peter Skarlatos, told CNN.

"We ended up by tying him up then during the process the guy actually came out, he pulled out a cutter and started cutting Spencer," Norman, 62, told broadcaster iTV early Saturday morning local time. "He cut Spencer behind the neck. He nearly cut his thumb off. Spencer held him and we eventually got him under control. We got the terrorist." But Stone, who is from California, didn't stop there. While he he was bleeding, he helped another injured person. "He just went over there and saved his life," Sadler said.
 For the rest of Brittany Levine Beckman's story go to Mashable's website.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Excellent Story on About to Open Broad Museum in DTLA



 photography Courtesy of  Elizabeth Daniels
Los Angeles Confidential has a short, but excellent story on Eli Broad and his about to open Broad Museum on Bunker Hill. What makes it interesting is its concentration on the personal side of his and the museum's founding curator - Joanne Hyler - long battle to get to this day.

Here is a link to the story.

Friday, August 14, 2015

If You Have Not Seen the Only Video That Shows the Entire Explosion in China - Here It Is



     (neither of these is a photo of the final really big explosion)'

I've been incredibly busy this week and had only seen snippets of video here and there.  So I had no idea how massively, incredibly huge the two blasts had been until I saw this video. 

Clearly, the death toll will far surpass the 50 now being reported.

Inspiring interview with ''Straight Outta Compton'' director F. Gary Gray.


Photo by Getty Images courtesy of  Deadline Hollywood
While my musical tastes do not  normally include hip hop or rap, the story behind those musical revolutions has always been of interest to me; particularly in regards to their Los Angeles roots.  That's why I clicked to read DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD'S interview with the director of the surprise blockbuster - Straight Outta Compton - F. Gary Gray.  The interview was conducted by former Nikki Finke cohort,  Mike Fleming, Jr.

And while the interview serves its  purpose of establishing the street cred of the director - it also simultaneously tells the very non-street world that Gray concurrently lived within during his late adolescence; a world that helped jump start his career as one of Hollywood's most sought after directors.  And that part of his story is only one of many reason why you should read all of  this article and not just the first paragraphs I have here.  First, is an opening essay vy Fleming on the film's history and then the first question and answer of the interview.

EXCLUSIVE: Studio execs who thought of F. Gary Gray as a go-to guy for taut thrillers like The Italian Job, The Negotiator, Law Abiding Citizen and Be Cool already are reassessing as Straight Outta Compton opens tomorrow with rave reviews and strong box office expectations. The film chronicles the fast rise and fall of N.W.A and the birth of streetwise poets who reflected the poverty, gangs, drugs, guns and heavy-handed law enforcement that was part and parcel of living in the Los Angeles ghetto. The film is very personal for Gray, who is around the same age and grew up in South Central Los Angeles just miles from N.W.A members Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, MC Ren and DJ Yella. There is a Social Network atom-splitting depiction of the birth of an important cultural movement in Straight Outta Compton, and an underdog story of the struggle of young men from the ‘hood to say something important, and then handle the money and women when fame came their way. There is also an unexpected timeliness to ’80s N.W.A songs like “F*ck Tha Police” that somehow seem relevant after incidents in several U.S. cities this year. While the movie is getting the best reviews Gray has received in his career, memories of violence associated with Boyz N The Hood and other urban films has created an unwelcome press narrative that anticipates trouble going into opening weekend. I did this interview because I was intrigued about how similar Gray’s learning curve was to the subjects of Straight Outta Compton, but given the spate of press about heightened security, we start there.

And here is the opening paragraph of the actual interview.
 DEADLINE: Here you have one of the best-reviewed studio movies this year, your Hollywood premiere this week was the hottest ticket in town. And yet the narrative in the Hollywood trades has been about heightened security at that premiere, and concerns about theater violence heading into this weekend. There have been outrageous gun violence tragedies in movie theaters the past few years, but all the shooters were white. Is this racist? Unfair?
 GRAY: I read a couple of those headlines and thought, wow, now you’re grasping for straws, trying to create something that’s just not there. The response to the movie has been great, we’ve enjoyed standing ovations around the nation, and so many people are saying how positive it is. Oprah called it powerful, black churches are supporting the film, and people are coming out of the woodwork who wouldn’t ordinarily endorse or be associated with gangsta rap, street rap or this genre of music. I think maybe there’s something good here and they’re trying to find something that isn’t there. It’s just not there. We had an amazing premiere; I’d never experienced anything like it, extremely cool and positive. It went off without a hitch, everybody enjoyed themselves. There wasn’t an incident to report. I guess they wanted to find something and so they say, ‘Wow, they had a lot of security there.’ I don’t know if it’s par for the course, I don’t know if it’s specific to this movie, but I am not really focused on that. I’m happy people are walking away feeling energized and … surprised. They’ve told us this was more than they expected, that it went beyond a rap movie or a music biopic, and that’s what I’m focused on.
For the rest of the interview - click here to go to Deadline Hollywood's site.